Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
In Congress this week, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and six cosponsors introduced a bill that would remove the penalty that prohibits students with drug convictions from receiving financial aid. Also, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) filed an amendment that would require the federal government to study the effects of state marijuana regulation. A Senate floor vote could happen in the upcoming days.
At the state level, Oklahoma activists failed to collect enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization ballot measure, and the state’s medical marijuana working group took public testimony on Wednesday. And state Rep. Jake Wheatley of Pennsylvania started an online petition to build momentum on a marijuana legalization bill he will soon introduce.
New Jersey’s Senate president thinks he has the votes to pass marijuana regulation and medical marijuana expansion bills next month. Governor Murphy (D) is hoping that lawmakers will pass a marijuana legalization bill this year. Also, the state’s attorney general will not extend a moratorium on marijuana prosecutions, as it expires next month. He will instead put out a memo to instruct prosecutors to use their own discretion on whether or not to pursue cannabis cases.
The California state senate approved a bill to allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs, and the Assembly defeated a bill to allow medical cannabis administration at schools and one to allow financial institutions to work with the cannabis industry.
There are also still a few bills pending before Governors around the country, including two bills in Delaware regarding medical marijuana program expansion and expunging past records, and two bills in Illinois awaiting action from the Governor regarding industrial hemp expansion and allowing medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids. It’s TBD on if/when these bills will be signed into law.
At a more local level, activists in Norwood, Ohio collected enough signatures to put a marijuana depenalization question on this November’s ballot, but local police said that even if the measure is approved by voters, they will still continue to charge people under state law.
Eau Claire County voters in Wisconsin will see a non-binding marijuana question on their November ballot, as it was just approved by the city council.
Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.
Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.
End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.
The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.
Assembly Bill 1793 seeks to allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence.
Update: AB 1793 was approved by the Senate with a 28-10 vote and now awaits action from Governor Brown.